The merging paths of fast fashion and always changing trends has forced us to look at our closet without much loyalty. It makes sense to a point: Why spend more on a very nowsilhouette or color when it’ll feel undeniably not now within six months? Resisting the lure of whatever you’ve seen plastered across Instagram has become easier thanks to the expertly curated selection at Permanent Collection. Founders Mariah Nielson and Fanny Singer first crossed paths via their art-world work (they’ve manned curatorial positions at London’s Tate Modern and The Serpentine), but a shared style sensibility inspired them to think about things differently.
A look from Permanent Collection’s newest collection.
“When we met we were both wearing vintage navy blue coats: beloved pieces we’d had in our respective collections for years. Even though we initially began working together on curatorial projects we kept circling back to those coats and thinking about a project that might involve remaking vintage pieces whose archetypal silhouettes kept them relevant year after year,” Singer told ELLE.com. “We were inspired by the mission of collecting institutions like MoMA. We wanted to think about our project as a way to create pieces that would never go out of style or fall out of favor, pieces anyone would want to have in his or her personal ‘permanent collection’.”
Pieces created for Permanent Collection don’t start on the sketch pad, but rather as a vintage pattern (the site carries apparel, but also accessories, paper goods, and homewares). Nielson and Singer work with artists’ estates on reproductions, commission new pieces from young designers, and plan on making versions of favorite styles in their network. “We plan to remake a favorite button-down of Martino Gamper’s, [the artist] who designed the beautiful handblown glass and carafe set in our just-launched third collection, that his wife, the artist Francis Upritchard, always loves to borrow,” Singer explained.
When it comes to high-street shopping, going cold turkey can be rough. Start slow with Singer’s recommended summer buy. “The Pia sandals. They’re comfortable, chic, and handmade by a single man in his tiny Paris atelier near the Jardin du Luxembourg.” A good gateway drug to the world of buy-less, buy better too: Unlike cheap styles that’ll fall apart by the end of summer, these are built to last (and with the track record to prove it: They’re modeled after a vintage pair marked only with a “Made in Italy” stamp).
The Pia sandals, $350